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High Country News May 24, 1999


The last weird place: Can rangers and desert rats coexist in Death Valley?

Eccentric desert rats and clean-cut park rangers sometimes meet in a culture clash over how to manage one of the hottest, driest and strangest places in North America - Death Valley National Park.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends

30 issues for $30; 20,000 subscribers by Y2K; this and that; new intern Tim Westby.


Does a wilderness bill include a driveway?

Critics say that Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard's Spanish Peaks wilderness bill leaves a road unprotected - a "cherry stem" - that will benefit developer Tom Chapman, who owns a mining claim at the end of it.

Greens not welcome in Escalante

Newcomers Patrick Diehl and Tori Woodward say they are being persecuted by some longtime Escalante, Utah, residents, because they are environmentalists who oppose construction of the New Wide Hollow Reservoir.

The Wayward West

BLM fines stray cows along San Pedro in Ariz.; stray bison near Yellowstone not protected by new wildlife plan; new bus system slated for Yosemite hits speed bump; voluntary June climbing ban at Devil's Tower; plans to buy Loomis forest in Wash.

The feds poke a hole in the 1872 Mining Law

Battle Mountain Gold's plans to mine Buckhorn Mountain in Washington's Okanogan Highlands hit a snag when the Interior Dept. realizes that the mine's "waste-rock" piles will sprawl over more land than the 1872 Mining Law allows.

New twist in an old law has everyone screaming

Solicitor John Leshy of the Interior Dept., an expert on the 1872 Mining Law, has the industry screaming and politicians in turmoil over his decision to enforce a long-neglected provision of the law, which allows only a few acres per mining claim.

Settlement reached in Tahoe takings case

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is ordered to pay Bernardine Suitum $600,000 for blocking her plans to build an A-frame house on her property by Lake Tahoe.

Road ban stops a timber project

Dixie National Forest officials cancel a controversial timber sale because it conflicts with the Forest Service's nationwide moratorium on road construction in roadless areas.

Book Reviews

Not just sheepherders

Nancy Zubiri's book, "A Travel Guide to Basque America - families, feasts and festivals," is a passionate and well-researched guide to Basque culture in the Great Basin area.

Star parties

From May through October the Hansen Planetarium will host monthly star parties and indoor slide presentations at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

'Duck cops' ruffle feathers

Many law enforcement agents at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say their program is corrupt, understaffed and underfunded.

All about salmon

The report "A Snapshot of Salmon in Oregon" explains the complexities of saving salmon.

Recreation doesn't cut it

A study of Clark County, Idaho, shows that tourism may not be enough to keep suffering rural economies afloat when timber and mining industries pull out of an area.

Strategies in Western water law

University of Colorado's 20th annual summer conference on water law will be held June 9-11 in Boulder, Colo.

San Juan Citizens Alliance

The Alliance will have a community involvement celebration June 19 in Durango, Colo.

Sustainable Development Speakers Series

The Environmental Protection Agency hosts a free series in Denver, July 15, Sept. 16 and Nov. 11.

Yellow Bay Writers' Workshop

The 12th annual writers' workshop will be held Aug. 8-14 near Montana's Flathead Lake.


Walking the path between light and dark

Physical anthropologist Christy Turner's controversial theories that the Anasazi practiced cannibalism leave the writer pondering the balance of good and evil that existed in the no-longer idealized past as well as in the present.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West

Front Sight development in Nev. to have 13 firing ranges; sheepherder fired for unlicensed dog; condor visits airstrips; Fake fish mimics how fish cope with hydropower dams; dogs in pickup controversy in Jackson, Wyo.; bag lunches in Aspen ski resorts.

Related Stories

'The more protection we have, the better'

Death Valley environmental specialist Dick Anderson defends the Desert Protection Act as necessary to save wild lands.

'Humans aren't that bad'

Local resident Jim Macey believes park status has actually harmed Death Valley.

Bureau of livestock, mining ... and parks?

The decision to put the BLM, rather than the Park Service, in charge of the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, is part of a trend toward blurring the lines among the roles of the federal land management agencies.

'I'm really embarrassed'

Local resident Kathy Goss is disillusioned by the way environmentalists pushed the Desert Protection Act.

'They're just too rigid'

Longtime park volunteer Reuben Scolnik says the park officials are good people but too rigid.

'By and large, they're heroes'

Death Valley Park Superintendent Dick Martin says the park rangers are heroes.

So much land, so little money

Park enemies in Congress reduced the budget for the new Mojave National Preserve to one dollar - an extreme example of the way Congress often creates parks and monuments but is reluctant to provide any money to support them.

'It didn't need to be saved'

Longtime Death Valley resident Janice Allen believes the area is not helped by its designation as a national park.

'We were created to serve all'

Chief ranger Scot McElveen says local people should not receive preference in a natural resource owned equally by all citizens.

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